Conal Henry, Executive Chair of Fibrus Conal is a Dublin based Belfast man. He currently Chairs, Belfast based telco, Fibrus and the £500m HM Treasury backed National Digital Infrastructure Fund based in London. Prior to this Conal was CEO of enet taking it from start up to its £200m acquisition by the Irish Infrastructure Fund in 2017, as CEO of Enet, Conal also lead what is now known as NBI to become the winning bidder for the €2bn Irish National Broadband Plan. Prior to enet Conal was Commercial Director at Ryanair having been Head of Finance for Non Food and George Clothing at Asda in the UK. Conal began his career at Procter & Gamble. He is also Vice Chair of An Cosán Ireland’s leading Community Education Charity and sits on the Board of The Shannon Foynes Port Company. Conal graduated in Law from QUB in 1991 and is a Chartered Management Accountant.
Jim Frawley, Founder and CEO
Founder and CEO Jim Frawley is a Columbia University certified Executive Coach and the Founder of Bellwether, a company dedicated to helping organizations and people build resiliency, adapt to change and thrive in rapidly shifting contexts. Over his twenty-year career, he has internationally created and implemented corporate training programs, complex marketing and PR plans, business strategy and administrative plans and organizational re-designs. He has worked with clients in eight countries and thirtynine states to date. A few years ago, Jim came to the realization that he had a unique capability in getting people to do things they didn’t think they could. After some experimentation on using this capability for good or evil, he decided on the good. (But not before convincing an Irish cousin to swim in the Hudson River.) He is the host of the Bellwether Hub podcast and author Adapting in Motion: Finding Your Place in the New Economy, a practical guide to managing multiple levels of macro change. Jim is a bigtime reader, a small-time triathlete and a full-time husband and father. Jim’s most recent book Adapting In Motion: Finding Your Place In The New Economy can be found here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/JimFrawley/e/B08SYX1N93?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000
Kevin Walsh, Leading GAA Coach, Former All Star & Partner, Growcoach.ie
Kevin Walsh is a partner at Growcoach (coaching coaches) http://www.growcoach.ie. Before becoming a founding partner at Growcoach, Kevin’s gained his experience across a number of different sectors. Kevin spent ten years in the construction business both as company director and developer. He worked for five years in CMCC financial services – QFA and was a member of An Garda Síochána for 15 years. Kevin has had a successful career in Senior Football with five years as Galway senior football manager, five years Sligo senior football manager and one year Galway ladies football coach. Kevin is a two time All Ireland football champion with Galway Seniors 1998 and 2001 and one Minor All Ireland champion in 1986. He is a three time All Star 1998, 2001 and 2003. Kevin has also coached basketball for underage boys and girls for 15 years. Kevin has been married to Mary for 25 years and has five children from 23 years to 16 years. Kevin’s biography The Invisible Game can be found here: https://www.kennys.ie/shop/The-Invisible-Game-Walsh-Kevin
Host – Paul McErlean, Managing Director of MCE Public Relations
Paul McErlean is Managing Director and founder of MCE. He has over 25 years’ experience in the public, private and voluntary sectors at all levels focusing on business to business, business to consumer, corporate, financial, political and crisis communications. Paul previously was joint Managing Director of another major Northern Ireland PR agency, Stakeholder Communications, which MCE acquired in 2016. His career started in broadcasting research and news facilitation with leading independent television company, MacMillan Media and he also spent two years as Head of Communications for one of Northern Ireland’s main political parties. He has degrees from Queen’s and Cambridge Universities and completed an MBA from the Smurfit School of Business, University College Dublin, in 2002. On a voluntary basis, Paul is the Chairman of the Destination Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District, having spent six years as Chairman of the Cathedral Quarter Trust – a government and Belfast City Council backed stakeholder group charged with developing the regeneration strategy for Belfast’s most vibrant and historic city centre district. In 2013 he was made a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations having served as its Northern Ireland Chairman in 2006. Paul also serves as the Parent Governor on the Board of Governors of his children’s school in south Belfast, Rathmore Grammar School. In his younger days, Paul represented and captained the Antrim footballers at minor, u21 and senior levels and won two Railway Cups with Ulster. In 1986, Paul travelled with one of today’s panellists, Kevin Walsh, to play for the Ireland U17 basketball team in the ‘home’ internationals. The boys got the better of Scotland and Wales but were beaten by the old enemy in the championship decider.
Details and dates for the return of county camogie action were released this week. The Littlewoods National Leagues have been trimmed down to fit into a six week window from Saturday 15th May through to 20th/21st June with replays of the finals the following week. Otherwise knock-out games will finish on the day.
To achieve this the counties have been drawn together in groups of three or four neighbouring teams. Seconds teams have also been brought back into the lower divisions after being excluded from the championship last autumn on the grounds that they did not meet the criteria for “elite” status.
Although Down will play in the senior championship, they will contest Division Two of the league and are drawn along with Antrim and Derry in Group One. Group Three also has only three teams (Wexford, Kilkenny and Laois) while the other two groups have four teams in each.
And in a tough opener on Saturday 15th May, the Saffrons will be at home to Down the team that beat them in the All-Ireland Intermediate final a few weeks before Christmas.
Down will have a home game against Derry the following week and Antrim will travel to Derry on Saturday 29th May.
The top two teams in each of the four group will contest the quarter-finals while the bottom four teams across the groups will face relegation play-offs with the losers from the two games featuring in a relegation play-off at the end of June.
Antrim have entered a second team in the National League this season with a view to widening their player panel and also provide a stepping stone between minor and senior camogie. That team has been placed in Division Four.
There are two groups of four counties in Division Four and the winners and runners up in each group progress to the semi-finals.
Antrim are grouped in Section One with Wicklow and All-Ireland Junior B finalists from 2020 Tyrone and Cavan while Louth, Kildare, Roscommon and Mayo will be in Section Two.
Antrim will have two away games, to Tyrone on the opening weekend and to Wicklow on the last weekend of May. In between they will entertain Cavan.
On Tuesday evening I took a trip up to Belfast to get a few pics of the clubs training and what a perfect evening it turned out to be, perfect conditions for those returning to action. Most of the players I photographed hadn’t been together since last September when the Antrim championship ended and it was clear just much it meant to them to get back in action. Over at the Dub the Rossa hurlers were in flying form as Micky McCullagh put them through their paces, while down on the bottom pitch the footballers (those who are not ‘dual stars’) were working hard under the expert eye of Hugh McGettigan.
Over to Rossa Park where the U15 hurlers and ladies footballers were pickin up where they left off last season, while St Paul’s Under 13 hurlers who showing off their skills up at Naomh Pol. A sneak peak through the boundry fence captured Sarsfields minor footballers in action before heading dow the Glen Road to St Teresas where the hurlers and ladies footballs were shaking off the winter rust under the watchful eye of managers Seammy O’Hara and Seamus O’Neill. Philly Maguire had obviously had a training programme of his own during the lay-off as he was out front in the all the early sprints.
Down to Milltown where the new man in charge of St Gall’s Paddy Murray was putting them through their paces on the bottom pitch while Mickey Culbert jnr was taking charge of the ladies team on the main pitch. Up the Whiterock to O’Donnell’s where Corpus Christie Gaels minor football team were working hard in preparation for the new season.
Up to Corrigan Park where the Johnnies were in full flow, driven on by team manager Paddy Nugent and I have to say the place was looking in great shape, with the new stand forming the perfect backdrop for the action. Back down the Fall’s to catch the last few minutes of senior football training at Davitt’s. What a great set-up it is at the new Davitt Park. Team manager Gerard Nugent and his Coaches put the team through a hard programme.
Up the hill, our man on the inside, Kevin Herron, got a few shots of the senior hurlers in action while down in Moneyglass Elaine Kelly captured the action as the last season’s Intermediate champions St Ergnat’s got back at it under the management of brothers Peter and Martin Doherty.
The draws for the 2021 Senior Provincial Football and Hurling Championships will be broadcast live by RTÉ next week, on April 19th and 20th.
The 2021 Ulster Football championship draw will be televised on the 6.01 News on RTÉ 1 on Tuesday April 20th.
2021 Ulster Senior Football Championship
Five teams are in Bowl 1: Antrim, Armagh, Donegal, Down & Fermanagh
Four teams are in Bowl 2: Cavan, Derry, Monaghan & Tyrone
Step 1: From Bowl 1, the 1st team drawn plays the 2nd team drawn in Preliminary Round.
Step 2: The four teams from Bowl 2 are added to Bowl 1, and teams are stirred.
Step 3: The third team drawn plays the winner of the Preliminary Round in the fourth quarter-final.
Step 4: The fourth team drawn plays the 5th team drawn in the first quarter-final and so on until and teams are drawn.
The GAA last week published a revised 2021 Master Fixtures Calendar which will see the inter-county season played off in a 20-week period with the All-Ireland Senior Football and Hurling Finals in August.
The 2021 Provincial Football Championships will commence on the weekend of June 26/27, with the Ulster SFC Final scheduled the weekend of July 31/Aug 1.